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ACOG presidents highlight their visions for the College at the 2015 clinical meeting

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In a breakfast with the press, the incoming and outgoing ACOG presidents described their goals and accomplishments, with obesity targeted as a mission-critical issue to address in both gynecology and obstetrics



The 65th and 66th presidents of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) met May 4 at the College’s 2015 Annual Clinical Meeting in San Francisco to discuss highlights of the past and upcoming years. John C. Jennings, MD, outgoing president, described the “dynamic time we live in” and said his focus has been on shifting to efficient value-based health-care delivery based on ObGyns’ ability to work in multidisciplinary teams.

“What we’ve done this year is to bring together a collaborative practice task force to look at how we develop efficiently operating health care teams. And in doing that, I think, we’re going to be able to produce a model that is transportable to other specialties—not just obstetrics and gynecology but the overall delivery of women’s health care,” he said.

“We’ve had at the table with us the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, colleagues in pharmacy, advanced nurse practitioners, and certified nurse midwives. We’ve also had representatives from the lay public. We have developed a document that will be polished off and published later this year,” he said. “Obviously I want that to be a living document that helps guide us—in particular, our Fellows—in developing effective team-based practice for the future.”

Mark S. DeFrancesco, MD, MBA, incoming president, noted that, with a team-based focus on practice, he will be able to “take it to the next level” and approach population health. “We need to recognize that many women patients—certainly, between the ages of 18 and 50—see their ObGyn primarily for health care. Short of an acute illness, they tend to not see other doctors.” Among the health issues that merit special attention among these women are obesity and smoking, Dr. DeFrancesco said.

“These two areas kill 780,000 people per year in this country. That’s compared to 70,000 who die from breast, uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers. That’s a tenfold increase in deaths just from smoking and obesity. I’m saying let’s focus some of our zeal for healing on these issues, particularly if we build the teams that John’s talking about and, with our advanced practice RNs and nurse midwives, see patients more efficiently. Let’s do some real screening and attack these problems,” Dr. DeFrancesco said.

Obesity is an especially critical issue to address in obstetric care, Dr. DeFrancesco noted.

“Now there’s a whole body of knowledge developing about genetic changes that are driven by maternal and even paternal obesity,” he said. “I think that may be a lever to help us help our patients lose weight when we remind them that it’s not just about avoiding cesarean section but it’s about preventing a newborn from having a medically complicated life.”

Other issues Dr. DeFrancesco plans to address include physician burnout and dissatisfaction. “Unhappy doctors cannot provide high-quality care,” he noted.

“We’re also going to be doing a total review of our strategic plan,” he said. “It’s an awful lot to do and I’m going to see a few patients in between all these things. Fortunately, ACOG has fantastic senior management and staff, so it’s easier for me to kind of set the course and let the troops bring it the rest of the way.”

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